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International conference on migration and the global development agenda - December 9, 2015

Dilip Ratha's picture

The EU Presidency of Luxembourg and the World Bank are organizing a “Conference on Migration and the Global Development Agenda”. The World Bank Group President, Mr. Jim Yong Kim, will give the opening remarks. This high-level event will be held at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington D.C. on December 9, 2015 (9:00 AM – 6:30 PM). You are invited to participate in this conference and join researchers, government representatives, non-governmental representatives, private sector representatives, local governments, and international organizations and other colleagues in the discussions. Please find attached a concept note with a draft agenda.
As the first event after the finalization of the SDGs, this conference will bring together major stakeholders on migration and development to highlight the latest thinking on how to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks associated with migration for host, origin and transit countries as well as for the migrants and their families. Speakers will be invited to present various perspectives from a global, national, municipal, business and civil society. 

Venue: World Bank, Washington D.C. (Conference room MC 13-121)
Wednesday, December 9, 9:00 – 6:30 PM   Livestreaming:
RSVP to reserve your space:

Link to the Concept Note and Agenda

Estimating bilateral remittances

Dilip Ratha's picture
From time to time, we receive queries seeking more information on the estimation of bilateral remittances posted here. Data issues relating to remittances are well-known. We know that outward remittances reported by countries tend to underestimate the true size, because the sum of inflows worldwide is far larger than the sum of outward flows worldwide. We also know that many countries that are known to host large migrant populations report no data on remittances. And many countries tend to attribute a larger-than-real share of inward remittance flows to countries where correspondent banks are domiciled. See Ratha (2007, annex), Global Economic Prospects 2006 (p 105) and Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011 (p xvi) for caveats relating to data on remittances. See also the IMF’s International Transactions in Remittances: Guide for Compilers and Users for more information on remittances data.

The original write-up (from Ratha and Shaw 2007) explaining how bilateral remittances are estimated, is reproduced below (click on the snapshot to download):

Migration and Remittances: Recent Developments and Outlook

Dilip Ratha's picture
The World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief, conveying recent trends in remittance flows and migration was released today. Highlights are:
  • Remittance trends. The growth rate of remittances to developing countries is projected to fall from 3.3 percent in 2014 to 2.0 percent in 2015. The impact of slow growth on remittance outflows measured in dollars is compounded by the valuation effects of the U.S. dollar appreciation against the currencies of remittance-source countries, especially the ruble.
  • Outlook. Remittances to developing countries are expected to rise by about 4 percent in 2016 and 2017, buoyed by the continuing recovery in the United States and a modest acceleration of economic activity in Europe. However, the potential for further dollar appreciation against the currencies of remittance-sending countries and the possibility of reduced remittance flows from oil-exporting countries should oil prices remain low are important downside risks to this forecast.
  • Remittance costs. The global average cost of sending $200 remained at about 7.7 percent in the second quarter of 2015, or approximately 2 percentage points below the level in the first quarter of 2009. Remittance costs varied significantly by region, and within region by corridor. A major risk to the downward trajectory of remittance costs arises from the closure of accounts of money transfer operators by correspondent banks due to concerns related to regulatory compliance. Addressing these concerns would require a clearer distinction between the risks associated with remittance transactions and those with other financial transactions.
  • Major policy changes. The recently-adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development endorse improvements in migration policies, efforts to end human trafficking and promote decent labor conditions for migrant workers, reductions in the costs of remittances and recruitment, and the collection of statistics on migration disaggregated according to migratory status. The Action Agenda also addresses the issue of de-risking by banks and adverse effects of financial regulations on financial inclusion. 

Read the press release here (Also available in: Français | العربية | 中文 | Español)
Datasets on Inflows and Outflows
Bilateral Remittances Matrix, 2014
Bilateral Migration Matrix, 2013
For more information, visit

A Syrian refugee at COP21

Andrea Liverani's picture
A mix of keenness and unease hits me when reading the headlines on the upcoming Paris COP. Stated commitments by big emitters look promising, but the memory of Copenhagen still lingers on, together with the more structural challenges to achieving a global deal. I wouldn’t want to be among those attending the nerve-wrecking thing. And yet, every time I read about Syria I realize that if I were a Syrian refugee, I would definitely welcome an invitation, if only to the first day.

I am a migrant

Jim Yong Kim's picture

Also available in: Français | العربية | 中文 | Español

​In 1964, I came to the United States from South Korea, then an extremely poor developing country that most experts, including those at the World Bank, had written off as having little hope for economic growth.

My family moved to Texas, and later to Iowa. I was just 5 years old when we arrived, and my brother, sister, and I spoke no English. Most of our neighbors and classmates had never seen an Asian before. I felt like a resident alien in every sense of the term.

Don't blame the smugglers: the real migration industry

Hein de Haas's picture
The billions spent on the militarisation of border controls over the past years have been a waste of taxpayers' money. As we are able to witness during the current 'refugee crisis', increasing border controls have not stopped asylum seekers and other migrants from crossing borders. As experience and research has made abundantly clear, they have mainly (1) diverted migration to other crossing points, (2) made migrants more dependent on smuggling, and (3) increased the costs and risks of crossing borders.

Europe's disgrace

Hein de Haas's picture
A general sense of panic is dominating media coverage of what has come to know as Europe's 'refugee crisis'. It conveys the image of a massive exodus going on from the Middle East and Africa to Europe, with European countries struggling to control borders in order to prevent an invasion from happening. To be sure, we are dealing with a grave humanitarian tragedy, that need urgent addressing. Yet the idea that we are facing a biblical, uncontrollable exodus is sheer nonsense.

“Say it loud, say it clear: refugees are welcome here”

Ellen A. Goldstein's picture

I am the World Bank’s Director for the Western Balkans, and I live in Vienna, Austria, where thousands of refugees, mostly fleeing from conflict in Syria and Afghanistan, are now straggling across the border from Hungary after harrowing trips on crowded boats, uncomfortable stays in makeshift camps, cramped bus rides and long journeys on foot when all else fails.

My father’s parents were refugees to America.  They were Jewish peasants from Russia who fled the pogroms of the early twentieth century.  My mother’s great-grandparents were economic migrants, educated German Jews who went to Chicago in the mid-nineteenth century to seek their fortune in grain futures and real estate.  When my parents married in the early 1950s, theirs was considered a “mixed marriage”: Russian and German; peasant stock and educated elite; refugees and economic migrants.  I know the difference between the latter two:  refugees are pushed out of their home countries by war, persecution and a fear of death; economic migrants are pulled out of their home countries by the promise of a more prosperous life for themselves and their children.

PM Modi’s visit to the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in the UAE

Dilip Ratha's picture
Q&A with Natalie Obiko Pearson, Bloomberg News

1. Why are remittances so important to India's economy?

India received $70 billion in remittances last year, and is expected to receive over $72 billion this year. That makes remittances one of the largest sources of foreign exchange for India, larger than its IT exports. Remittances directly flow to the migrants’ families, helping them finance purchases of essential items, housing, school and medical services. Remittances act like an insurance for Indian households, increasing in times of need (such as weddings, funerals, natural disasters). They also act like an insurance for the country, rising in times of financial difficulties, such as when external private capital flows decrease and the rupee weakens. They reduce poverty and increase human capital by enabling schooling and medical services. They also provide much needed funding for business investments for households.